Andros Townsend says Newcastle United MUST keep Rafa Benitez at St James’s Park – as he can guide the club back to the top.
Benitez is in talks with the relegated club’s hierarchy about taking charge in the Championship next season.
The Spaniard met owner Mike Ashley after Sunday’s 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and yesterday held more talks with managing director Lee Charnley.
Townsend, who was yesterday named in England’s provisional Euro 2016 squad by Roy Hodgson, has flourished under Benitez since his arrival.
The 24-year-old was outstanding in the club’s six-game season-ending unbeaten run, scoring four goals as United battled to stay in the Premier League.
And Townsend hopes that the club’s manager will stay at St James’s Park.
“It would be massive for Newcastle to keep Rafa as manager,” said Townsend, signed from Tottenham for £12million in January.
“He’s one of the best managers in the world. If we can keep a manager of that calibre, and keep doing the right things, we will build.
“We will not cut corners and we’ll build for the future and come straight back in the Premier League, and not just in the top flight, but up there challenging, because that is what the manager wants to do.”
If Benitez does commit to United, Townsend might not be at the club to work with him next season.
Townsend has a release clause in his contract that can be activated for £8million this summer, though he has given no indication, yet, that he wants to leave the club.
However, the Londoner would not take questions on his future after the Tottenham game.
And asked how many of his team-mates would be back to play in the Championship, he said: “I have no idea.
“My focus has been Spurs and putting on a performance for the fans and sending them home from the season with some sort of optimism.”